April's top stories: Crowne Plaza integrates LeoNovus solution, Interstate signs agreement
Canada's Crowne Plaza Kitchener-Waterloo Hotel and Conference Centre is integrating LeoNovus' SMART Media Platform and distributed cloud services, while Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is exploring strategic and financial alternatives to enhance its share value. Hotelmanagement-network.com wraps-up the key headlines from April 2015.
Canada's full-service hotel Crowne Plaza Kitchener-Waterloo Hotel and Conference Centre integrated LeoNovus' SMART Media Platform and distributed cloud services as part of its renovation plans.
Located in the heart of downtown Kitchener and Canada's Technology Triangle, the 201-room hotel features more than 17,000ft² of conference and meeting space, and is extending its upscale accommodations and service, in addition to upgrading technology.
The hospitality product of LeoNovus delivers a complete suite of in-room information systems that provides interactive services, such as in-room dining, promotional advertising and real-time guest service information.
US-based hotel and leisure firm Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is exploring strategic and financial alternatives to enhance its share value.
The hotel firm hired financial advisory and asset management firm Lazard to assist it in the process, which led to speculation about a possible sale and merger activity in the hotel industry.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide board chairman Bruce Duncan said: "Our board has always been focused on maximising long-term shareholder value, and this is a time of enormous opportunity and change in our industry."
In response to the decision taken by EU competition authorities to enforce rate parity with online travel agents, the British Hospitality Association (BHA) said the industry is concerned that online booking companies are stifling competition.
The BHA said competition is curbed through high commissions, rate and service parity.
BHA legal and policy director Jackie Grech said: "The authorities decision to uphold rate parity against hotels was not a meaningful solution and doesn't return freedom to the market.
"The decision does little to help customers or hotels. Online travel agents serve a benefit to the travel community."
The BHA alleged online booking companies are also manipulating search results and star ratings in order to lure customers to book hotels.
US-based Interstate Hotels & Resorts signed 18 management agreements with an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management for its hotel portfolio in the UK.
The new deal increases the Interstate's UK division's hotel portfolio to 59 in the country.
Interstate Hotels & Resorts CEO Jim Abrahamson said: "The UK continues to be a priority strategic growth area for Interstate and it is gratifying to see our portfolio expand in the region through a new relationship with a world-class owner."
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company announced it is set to open its new 224-room property in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in mid-2015.
The Ritz-Carlton, Jeddah will be operated by the company for the Ministry of Finance, which reinforces an existing partnership for the Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh.
UK's budget hotel chain Travelodge announced it is set to be put up for sale by its owners that could provide the company with more than £1bn.
As reported by the Times, the hotel's existing owners, which include Goldman Sachs, Avenue Capital and GoldenTree Asset Management, are holding discussions to appoint advisers to weigh strategic options for the floatation process.
People with knowledge of the matter said a sale is likely to take place in the next nine months to one year.
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group unveiled plans to open more than 50 new properties within five years in India.
Focused on South and West India, the new properties will be developed in state capitals and emerging secondary and tertiary cities.
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group South Asia CEO Raj Rana said: "We have established a nationwide presence that has been built upon a deep understanding of this key market."
Wyndham Hotel Group opened a new 139-room Ramada Resort Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which is the first hotel for the group in eastern Africa.
The new property features 117 superior rooms that offer ocean or garden views, 21 executive suites and one presidential suite.
Wyndham Hotel Group president and Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Indian Ocean managing director Dan Ruff said: "Given the increasing demand for quality, internationally-branded accommodation in eastern Africa, as well as our commitment to getting closer to our guests and our customers through the expansion of our managed property division, it is a key milestone in our regional growth."
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) opened its first Holiday Inn Express hotel in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
The 199-room property, Holiday Inn Express Port Moresby, is located in the centre of the government district in the Papua New Guinean capital.
The property is close to the Jacksons International Airport, as well as to the Papua New Guinea's Parliament and many government departments and diplomatic offices. It also offers easy access to the Royal Port Moresby Golf Club, native flora and fauna in the Port Moresby Nature Park and historic artefacts at the National Museum and Art Gallery.